It’s that time of the year, rains ruining your travel plans and messing up your laundry duties. We all need the warmth and feel good factor of bhajiyas and pakoras with chai but with all the goodness of no oil of-course. So I’ve come up with a few recipes to do just that.
Cauliflower stem and leaf pakora:
It’s the monsoon season, vegetable prices are soaring and one can’t afford to throw away any edible portion of vegetables especially when they are so expensive. Did you know the actual raw yield of a head of cauliflower is just about 55%. If you purchase 1 kg cauliflower for 63 rupees which is the prevailing rate. You are essentially dumping 28 rupees worth of perfectly edible cauliflower in the bin which is wrong on so many levels.
Making this cauliflower stem pakoras is incredibly simple and is sure to brighten up a gloomy monsoon evening. Best enjoyed with a cup of piping hot chai.
After working with Oberoi Luxury Hotels and Bombay Canteen under Floyd Cardoz, Anmol has recently started exploring the world of ingredients while working with Nature's Basket. He is passionate about Indian food and ingredients. His experiments use desi ingredients in contemporary cooking.
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Cauliflower stem pakora
Wash the cauliflower, destem the florets and keep aside. We will not be using the florets. You may use the florets for your regular sabji or any other purpose. Once cut you can store the florets immersed in water for upto 24 hrs in the refrigerator.
Roughly chop up the stems, leaves and the stalks. In rare cases the cauliflower comes whole along with the larger leaves that completely envelope it. Make sure you don’t include these as we want to make sure that the pakoras don’t have too much leafy content which will leach out water and not allow them to crisp up adequately.
Once this is done put all of these contents in a blender and blitz the mixture till it is finely chopped up but not to a paste. Add some salt to the mixture, mix and keep it aside. The salt is added for seasoning ofcourse but also to ensure that the leafy portion lets of some of the excess moisture. Moisture being the enemy of crispyness.
Meanwhile, prepare the batter and keep it aside. Keep water for boiling. Squeeze the blended cauliflower and drain the excess water. Now add it to the batter, check the consistency as mentioned in the ingredient list.
Once the water is boiling, add the batter in small dolops either with a spoon or your hands. The batter will be sticky so keep a bowl of water handy so that you can quickly rinse your fingers before dropping the next pakora. The boiling process is to make sure that the contents of the pakora are cooked and it gives structure for us to be able to spread out on a baking tray. Poach for about 2-3 mins, drain and cool in the refrigerator. Cooling in the refrigerator will help in the drying out of the surface of the pakoras and help in the browning process in the oven.
Grease a baking tray with 1 tsp of oil and spread it. Preheat the oven to 200*C, add the pakoras to the tray and bake. After about 2 mins, increase the temperature to max, around 250*C. You might have to turn them around slightly to achieve even browning.
After about 5-7 mins it should be crispy, golden brown and ready. Serve hot with ketchup or sauce of your choice.